How a Syrian seed community will be built in Eugene, Oregon, around one initial seedling
May 18, 2016 by Ann Corcoran
We’ve been telling you lately about how the federal government and its refugee contractors are out scouting new locations to expand the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program to your towns and cities. They are desperate for new sites as older sites are overloaded and pushback from concerned citizens is growing.
We recently told you about Rutland, VT and Reno, NV, (in April it was Ithaca, NY) so it was no surprise to see news about the Eugene, OR (Lane County) area getting Syrian refugees. However, as I read the story and went back to earlier stories, the plot thickened!
The story that I saw first thing this morning is this one about a Catholic Charities being asked by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to take a few Syrians and Burmese refugees soon (usual fairly straightforward strategy).
SPRINGFIELD, Ore.- In a few months, Lane County will gain three new families with the help of Catholic Community Services of Lane County.
These families are refugees from Syria and Myanmar, also known as Burma.
After that, Lane County will continue to gain 7 to 10 new refugee families each year.
Catholic Community Services Executive Director Tom Mulhern says the US Conference of Catholic Bishops called Catholic Community Services, asking them to help facilitate a refugee program in Lane County.
Be sure if you live in this area to contact Catholic Community Services and your local elected officials and ask for a copy of the R & P Abstract for Eugene/Springfield. Don’t know what that is, please read our recent post on Reno! As a taxpayer, you are entitled to all the facts on the new resettlement site.
But, then get this! Are we seeing the United Nations new ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS being put in motion to build the Syrian community in Lane County?
Here is what I found when I looked around some more:
The ‘seedling’ for this new community is a Syrian ‘refugee’ named Ali Turki Ali who was ‘discovered’ by a longtime US State Department employee named Mark Ward working in Turkey.
Although Ali was apparently perfectly safe in Turkey, he was interested in going to Europe, but Ward convinced him to go to America instead.
You really need to read the article.
But, then this is something I have never heard of and makes me wonder if this is part of the new strategy to get Syrians in to the US.
Ali was told that he would need a private sponsor and Ward’s 25-year-old son Peter would do the job. So some ‘twenty-something’ can vouch for a newly arrived Muslim refugee? When did that policy come into practice?
“You will need a sponsor wherever you go,” Ward said.
“I know one American,” Ali said. “You. And you’re not in the United States.”
“I know an American who could be your sponsor,” Ward said. “My son, Peter.”
A sponsor is someone who agrees to watch over a refugee for their first six months in the country. The sponsor helps a refugee find a place to live and learn about the community.
Mark Ward showed Ali a map of Oregon. It might as well have been a photograph of Mars.
“And that same look came over his face,” Ward says.
“And then I had to convince (Lutheran Community Services) in Portland that I wanted him in Eugene, and that wasn’t easy,” Ward says. Lutheran Community Services is Ali’s receiving agency in Oregon and one of three refugee resettlement agencies in the state, according to Evans, the state DHS spokesman.
“We want him in Portland,” Ward recalls the agency saying. “Where we can keep an eye on him.”
So, guess what, Ali went to Eugene, and subsequently the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a new resettlement agency—-Catholic Community Services of Lane County—and presto! Ali’s extended family will be the first to arrive for the new resettlement site!
We learn here that because his two brothers have a relative in the area (Ali!) they are on the way to Eugene, Oregon.
So plant the first refugee seedling and more will come!
About the seedling photo: Go here and learn where that came from.
ORR Annual Reports to Congress are very useful
May 17, 2016 by Ann Corcoran
Someone asked me today where to find the number of refugees who were resettled in each state in the US over the years and it reminded me that we have many many new readers every day who are just beginning to try to get a handle on how the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program works.
Very useful documents are the Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Reports to Congress*** which are full of all sorts of data, not just the statistics on how many refugees were resettled in your state, but they include data on welfare use, employment, housing, and medical assistance, among other things.
They also include reports from the VOLAGs (the federal contractors) and discussions of special problems that some refugee populations encounter here. And, of course there is information about the myriad grants these contractors receive each year.
I can’t say it enough, but knowledge is power. If you want to begin to understand what is happening in your towns and cities, start by looking at one of these documents.
Click here for a list of available reports.
By the way, the Refugee Act of 1980 specifies that this report should be completed and sent to Congress by the end of January following the close of the fiscal year. Thus, the 2015 Annual Report should be available, but they are behind in producing it.
So what else is new! At one point a few years ago, they were three years behind!
For new readers we have a category entitled ‘where to find information,’ and you might want to have a look at it from time to time.
P.S. I just spent a few minutes examining Table 1 (of the Appendix) in the FY2009 Annual Report where it cataloged how many refugees and from what countries were resettled in each state between 1983 and 2009. Wow! Amazing!
***This is not to be confused with another report to Congress that accompanies the President’s proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. That report also has much useful data but is not as comprehensive as the reports found here.